On September 11, 2001, Deena Burnett was making breakfast for her three daughters when she received an unexpected call from her husband Tom. It was odd that Tom called at this time as he was on board United Flight 93, flying coast to coast from Newark, New Jersey to San Francisco.
What followed were the most horrifying moments of her life.
Tom told Deena that the plane had been hijacked by some men with bombs. The hijackers had taken over the cockpit and had turned the plane towards Washington DC.
By this time, the passengers have already heard about the two hijacked planes that crashed into the twin World Trade Centre towers in New York City and another plane that slammed into the Pentagon. It dawned on them that Flight 93 was part of a grand scheme to crash hijacked airliners into prominent buildings. Knowing that they will be killed, Tom and a group of passengers decided to thwart the hijackers’ plan.
It was their moment of truth.
Tom told Deena: “I know we’re going to die….” And added: “We’re going to do something.”
Another passenger Todd Beamer was heard saying: “LETS ROLL”!
A group of passengers charged the hijackers. In the ensuring struggle, the hijackers were forced to abort their plan to crash the plane in Washington DC and plunged it in an open field in Pennsylvania instead.
Tom and the group of passengers had only minutes between knowing that they were going to die and doing something that would make a difference in others’ lives. And they did.
Many lives were saved that day by the heroic act of the Flight 93 passengers.
As John Maynard Keynes said: “In the long run, we're all dead.”
The passengers of Flight 93 crossed the threshold from their Ordinary Worlds to the Special World of heroes when confronted by death.
Do we need to wait until we face death before we do something about our calling?
We have much more time than Tom and the other Flight 93 passengers had on that fateful day to make a difference.
What will you do to make a difference in others' lives?